Bristol Silents was established by Chris Daniels and Norman Taylor in 2000 to promote and celebrate silent cinema in the Bristol area and in the United Kingdom. The first ever event the organisation put on was a selection of Louise Brooks films in October 2000 at the Arnolfini, Bristol.
The group aimed to raise awareness and knowledge of silent films amongst the film going public. It also wanted to support and present a range of Silent Films along with educational programmes designed to increase understanding and appreciation of the Silent era.
January, 2005 saw Bristol Silents establish the Slapstick Silent Comedy Festival in the city of Bristol. Since then, the festival has returned to the city every January and has included guests such as Eric Sykes, Christopher Chaplin, Jean Darling (of Our Gang fame) and Diana Serra Cary (aka Baby Peggy).
Slapstick Comedy Festival (previous events)
Ran from 11th - 14th Jan and guests included Neil Brand, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Gunter A Buchwald, Graeme Garden, Peter Lord, Paul Merton, Neil Innes, Jean Darling, David Robinson (film critic), Richard Williams (animator) and John Sweeney (pianist).
Ran from 22nd - 25th Jan and guests included Paul Merton, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Peter Lord, Neil Innes, Paul McGann, David Wyatt, Phill Jupitus, Nicholas Parsons, David Robinson (film critic), Jean Darling, Serge Bromberg, Neil Brand and Gunter A Buchwald.
Ran from 21st - 24th Jan and guests included Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Neil Innes, Paul McGann, David Wyatt, David Robinson (film critic), Gunter A Buchwald, Kevin Brownlow, Richard Williams (animator), Michael Palin, Barry Cryer, Graham Rinaldi, Chris Serle and radio presenter Matthew Sweet.
Ran from 27th - 30th Jan and guests included Rob Brydon, Shappi Khorsandi, Ian Lavender, Bill Oddie, Christopher Frayling, Richard Goleszowski, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Neil Innes, Paul McGann, Daiv Wyatt, David Robinson (film critic), Gunter A Buchwald, Kevin Brownlow, Richard Williams (animator), Barry Cryer, Chris Serle and lecturer Alex Clayton.
Ran from 26th - 29th Jan and guests included Griff Rhys Jones, Terry Jones, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ian Lavender, Bill Oddie, Christopher Frayling, Pierre Étaix, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Neil Innes, David Wyatt, David Robinson (film critic), Gunter A Buchwald, Kevin Brownlow, Barry Cryer, Les Bubb and Chris Serle.
The Aardman/Slapstick Award
The Slapstick Film Festival gives this annual award collaboration with Aardman Animations whose winner is selected by a panel of festival patrons and supporters. It is given to artists who have contributed significantly to the art of silent and visual comedy. The award itself features the Aardman character 'Morph' and is sculpted into the guise of the person who is to receive it.
2009: Eric Sykes
2010: Michael Palin
2011: The Goodies
2012: Pierre Étaix
2010 saw the tenth anniversary of Bristol Silents. To celebrate this, the organisation screened a number of silent films throughout the year including a special screening of Sunrise (1927), Clarence Brown's The Eagle (1925), and an event celebrating Louise Brooks (to celebrate the fact of Bristol Silent's first ever event back in October 2000) with a screening of Diary of a Lost Girl (1929).
Bristol Silents has also re-established its Bristol Silents Club Screenings which gives followers a chance to see more of the unique films of the silent era.
Regular supporters of Bristol Silents have included: Kevin Brownlow (Film Historian and Author), Paul McGann (Actor), David Robinson (Film Historian and Author), Peter Lord (Aardman Animations), Chris Serle (Broadcaster), David Sproxton (Aardman Animations) and Richard Williams (Animator).
- Bristol Silents celebrate 10 year Anniversary, South West Screen.
- Return of Slapstick, BBC Bristol Entertainment.
- Bristol Silents Present: Celebrating Louise Brooks - Diary of a Lost Girl , Arnolfini, Bristol.
- Bristol Silents Patron Paul McGann presents: Louise Brooks at 100, Watershed, Bristol.